Hamilton Loomis does indeed go back to basics on his new album "BASICS", which is his most personal and emotional effort to date. Gone are the double entendres for which Loomis is known; this time, his lyrics are direct, personal, and often autobiographical.
The “basics” theme runs through the entire CD, in its lyrics (“Prayer,” “Cloudy Day”), single-chord progressions (“Sugar Baby," "Looking Into a Dream”), simple melodies (“Come and Get Me”), and stripped-down instrumentation of guitar, bass and drums (“Reason," "Getting So Big”). Still, Loomis’s trademark deep-grooved funk and soulful blues-rock is definitely present.
“I wanted this record to be more stripped-down. Even the CD jacket is black and white and pretty basic itself," he says of the disc, which features songwriting collaborations with Grammy-award winning songwriter/ producer/bassist Tommy Sims, co-writer of Eric Clapton's “Change the World."
Loomis’ 2013 album “Give It Back” showed his pay-it-forward attitude of passing on knowledge to young, up-and-coming musicians, just as his mentors (notably Houston’s Joe Hughes, Johnny Copeland and rock icon Bo Diddley) once did for him. On Basics, Loomis continues the tradition by featuring several of his young protégées, and finishes the record with a jam session by some of his favorite Houston-area youngsters, whose ages range from 13 to 16. Loomis is also on a mission to raise awareness about hyperinsulinism (HI), a rare disease that causes low blood sugar. His 3-year-old son was diagnosed with the life-threatening condition in 2015, and Loomis dedicates Basics' opening track, “Sugar Baby,” to Congenital Hyperinsulinism International (www.congenitalhi.org), an organization that heads research on the disease, educates doctors and hospitals, and supports families affected by the disease. “They call HI kids 'sugar babies,' so I wanted to write a song in appreciation for all they do for families all over the world,” Loomis says.
Born and raised in Galveston, Texas, Loomis is the son of musician parents who listened to blues, rock and soul. Music ran in his veins and, with instruments readily available around the house, he picked up drums, piano, guitar and harmonica, honing his multi-instrumental talent in addition to performing regularly as part of his family’s doo-wop group.
“My parents had a fantastic record collection and, when I started writing, I gravitated towards what I’d been listening to all my life. I have a huge reverence for the blues and all it encompasses, but I’ve always been fond of R&B and funky music.”
A protégé of Bo Diddley, Loomis met the icon backstage at the age of 16 at Houston’s famed venue Rockefeller’s. Before the night was over, Loomis was onstage playing guitar with the legend. Diddley quickly became friend, mentor, collaborator and supporter, appearing on two of Loomis’ albums and presenting a cherished red guitar that he still plays.
That one night began my education and I spent a lot of time with Bo over the years listening to him tell so many stories,” said Loomis. “He was so generous and most people don’t know that he was really philanthropic. He played free concerts around his hometown for homeless shelters, schools and anyone that just needed help. He was always giving! That’s another thing that planted the GIVE IT BACK seed in my mind. It’s all coming full circle.”
Loomis and crew shine on stage proving his music is best experienced in person, where one can see and hear its intended splendor. Described by Blues Blast Magazine as “a non-stop turbo of power, one minute moving from side to side of the stage, and then taking on his horn player in a head-cutting contest on the apron of the stage the next minute.” Loomis’ energetic, get-in-with–the-crowd antics are infectious. The swaying and clapping are just as he envisioned.
“Being comfortable on stage is something that comes completely natural to me,” he says. “I feel joy when I play music and it literally moves me. It moves my body. I learned long ago that whenever music is coming from you, from deep inside your soul and from the right place, people will feel that on a deeper level and might not even know what’s going on inside of themselves. I enjoy engaging the crowd and feel a show should be an interactive experience.”
With each release, Katy Guillen & the Girls take new strides toward enhancing and expanding their creative process. In five years as a national touring act, the trio has shaped a musical identity rooted in the blues, taking cues from the timeless guitar riffs of Jimi Hendrix to the visionary songwriting of Patty Griffin and the indie rock revivalist sound of Heartless Bastards.
Katy Guillen & the Girls have amassed a substantial following across the country for their vivacious brand of roots rock. In addition to being one of Kansas City’s most distinguished acts, they have performed at such high-profile events as the Montreal International Jazz Festival and the King Biscuit Blues Festival, and opened for major acts like The Doobie Brothers and Robin Trower.
A seasoned guitarist who picked up her first guitar at age 8 and began participating in blues jams around Kansas City at 14, Katy Guillen established the trio in 2012, when she was offered a support slot for blues supergroup Royal Southern Brotherhood. Being without a backing band, she enlisted the talents of Claire Adams and Stephanie Williams, forming an immediate chemistry that would push her songs to new heights.
Williams brings a distinctively melodic voice to the drum kit, compelled by rock influences like Band of Skulls and Sleater-Kinney, and background in jazz ensembles. With Adams’ instincts as a multi-instrumentalist and composer, her impeccable bass lines and backing vocals are an ideal complement to Guillen’s commanding guitar licks and earnest lyrical delivery.
Katy Guillen & the Girls’ third album, “Remember What You Knew Before,” is a culmination of the experiences they’ve gained and the influences they’ve discovered as a group.The acoustic album revisits material from previous releases, tightening the focus on Guillen’s authentic songcraft and the group’s versatility. Inspired to create something fresh but familiar to listeners, they explored the roots of blues, country and folk while developing new ideas to create these arrangements.
Deitra Farr is considered one of Chicago ’s top vocalists, according to Living Blues Magazine (May 1997). Fiery, energetic, and soul-stirring describes this woman, who has over the years been nominated for Traditional Female Blues artist of the year by the W.C. Handy Awards, Female Blues Artist of the year by the Living Blues Critics Awards, the British Blues Connection Awards, and the Les Trophees France Blues awards. On October 4, 2015 Deitra was inducted into the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame as a " Legendary Blues Artist ". On December 9, 2016 the National Southern Soul Foundation gave Deitra " The Most Popular Blues Artist Award". Deitra is the recipient of the 2017 Jus Blues Music Foundation's " Koko Taylor Queen of the Blues Award".
This Chicago native began her career in 1975, singing with local soul bands, before starting her blues career in the early 1980’s. When Deitra was 18 years old, she recorded the lead vocals on Mill Street Depo’s record ” You Won’t Support Me “. That record was a Cashbox Top 100 R&B hit in 1976. Over thirty years later, that recording has been re-released and is popular again worldwide.
In 1983, Deitra began her blues career working at the major Chicago blues clubs, such as The Kingston Mines, The Wise Fool’s Pub and Blue Chicago. She also toured the US and Canada with the Sam Lay Blues Band.
From 1993 to 1996, Deitra was the lead singer with Mississippi Heat, recording two CD’s with this all-star group.
In 1997, Deitra resumed her own solo career, continuing to sing blues, while reaching back to her soul music roots. After recording on eight previous CD projects with others, she recorded her first solo CD, “The Search is Over”, for the London-based JSP records. In 2005, Deitra released her second JSP CD “Let it Go!”
The multi-talented Deitra Farr is also a published writer, poet, songwriter, and painter. A graduate of Columbia College (Bachelor of Arts in Journalism), Deitra has recorded many of her own compositions and has written articles for the Chicago Daily Defender, The Chicago Blues Annual, and the Italian blues magazine il Blues. Currently she has a column “Artist to Artist” in Living Blues Magazine.
In 1990, Deitra represented the Chicago Tourism Bureau in Düsseldorf, Germany and has toured England, Wales, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Canada, Holland, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Monaco, Italy, Slovenia, Greece, Israel, Austria, Latvia, Portugal, Sweden, Mexico, Guadeloupe, Lebanon, Spain, Denmark, United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi and Dubai), Qatar, Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland, Scotland, Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, Japan, Macedonia , Serbia , Russia Armenia, and Romania.
Deitra toured Europe with the 2000 Chicago Blues Festival with Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials. In 2003, Deitra completed a six week British tour with Otis Grand and Bobby Parker, as the American Festival of the Blues II. She did the 2004 Chicago Blues Festival European tour with Jody Williams and Andrew “Jr. Boy” Jones. From 2006-2010 Deitra has toured with The Women of Chicago Blues project with Zora Young and Grana Louise. Since 2013.. Deitra often tours Europe with Raphael Wressnig’s Soul Gift tour, which included Alex Schultz, Enrico Crivellaro, Silvio Berger and Sax Gordon.
Deitra is also performing as a member of the all- star blues group Chicago Wind, along with harmonica great Matthew Skoller!!
Jeni Grouws met Chris Avey and Bryan West at a blues jam in the Quad Cities in 2015, and later that year The Avey Grouws Duo was formed. After throwing in a handful of well-received full band gigs in 2016, in 2017 the duo finally called up Bryan West to officially form the Avey/Grouws Band. Chris Avey, formerly of The Avey Brothers and former lead guitarist for blues icon Big Pete Pearson, has been called a "younger, more fiery Coco Montoya mixed with a dash of Tab Benoit". Avey and drummer Bryan West came in 3rd in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in 2009 as The Avey Brothers. The strength and grit of Avey's guitar and vocals are beautifully matched by the sheer power and nuance of Grouws' unmistakable voice. She's been called "a choir full of angels on a runaway train!” Gary Eckhart of Blue Monday Monthly saw their first performance in 2017 and said, "It was their first show and they are already ready for festivals!" The band has been steadily booked in 2017 in La Crosse, WI, Minneapolis, MN and throughout their home state of Iowa. And though their musicianship is stellar, there is simply something about how the band communicates with an audience. An evening with the Avey/Grouws Band is playful, raucous and rooted in the moment. And you won't want it to end!
The Avey Grouws Band is Chris Avey, Jeni Grouws, Bryan West, Andrew Durham, Randy Leasman and Ian Farmer.
As a singer, Brigitte Purdy is a hidden gem. Her depth of expressivity and emotiveness, together with her rich, compelling, and soulful tone, and her flawless technical prowess, make Brigitte Purdy a world-class lead vocalist of legendary potential. On stage, Brigitte quite naturally commands the attention of every member of the audience with her musical presence, finesse, and sense for nuance. Combining her talents with her kind, sturdy, and insightful personality, she is a bright star on the horizon. If success is the intersection of preparedness and luck, her future triumphs depend only on a modicum of the latter.
Musical Director for The Who, guitarist, producer, songwriter.
The only thing better than attending a Brigitte Purdy concert, is being lucky enough to provide musical support for her. With a style that embraces the finer elements of jazz, pop, R&B, and blues, Purdy’s sense of swing and phrasing is exquisite. Her vocals bathe in a rich pool of soulful influences that captivates, titillates, and seduces. She’s a vocal stylist blessed with a singer’s instrument who combines the earthiness of 70’s funk, the operatic clarity of a dance diva, and the down home blues of Chicago. Purdy has made it her mission to leave a mark on the blues world. She places an indelible stamp on even the most well-known musical gems. Her confident stage presence comes from an innate sense of authenticity that caresses every note, and leaves listeners spellbound.
Music Connection Magazine
Being a lead singer in front of a burning band takes someone who can handle the heat. I always look forward to Brigitte's strong Blues, Funk and groove styling’s. She is an entertainer that handles the crowd like a true leader! We all love working with Brigitte!
Johnny "Vatos" Hernandez
Drummer: Oingo Boingo, Helen Reddy